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Anne
Reply with quote  #1 
Just wondering how often people visit their parent in a nursing home.  If you have or have had a loved one in a nursing home, how many times per week or per month do you (or did you visit).  
 
 No reasons needed, just wondering how often people go.  (currently I'm going 6 days / week, but can see this decreasing if it goes into a long-term situation. )
 
Thanks!
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Will I Survive
Reply with quote  #2 
I go 3 or 4 times a week, short visits.  I also do my mother's laundry, so the reason it's that often is because I need to pick up dirty clothes and leave clean ones.

My mother doesn't do long visits very well, so I may actually see her for 1/2 hour before she goes to an activity or decides she wants to go to one of the community areas to be with the other residents. 

As she's becoming more incontinent, I've had to lay in a bigger supply of clothes so this doesn't turn into a daily thing with the laundry.  Every other day is quite enough.
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pq
Reply with quote  #3 
I'm not in this situation yet, so others will have better insight.  But assuming that you are not having to provide care yourself, should part of the question be "How often would I be visiting my parent if they still lived at home?" 

I've been thinking of this in reaction to reading folks accounts of their visits and also reading about the elder housing industry, specifically how nursing homes developed originally with a hospital-like focus of service, which I think unconsciously makes us feel that we need to visit very frequently because our parent is "hospitalized."

However, new nursing homes are often now adopting a different approach--less institutional and hospital-like, and more home-like, stressing quality of living as opposed to life extension at all costs and "all treatments must be exhausted."

Should this be part of our thinking when our parents move into Assisted Living or a Nursing Home?  Presuming that they are not in the final final stages of life, do we send an unconscious message that "you're sick or dying" if we visit much more frequently than previously or than we want, when in many cases they have essentially just moved to a new home, albeit with better services available?

I dont' know the answer here, just thinkin'.
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Lara
Reply with quote  #4 
Hi Anne

When my mother in law went into a nursing home with terminal cancer we visited her every day except one for three months until she died.

When she first went into the home we had no idea how long she would live. My husband (now ex) was the favoured child, had lived at home the longest and was the only one (out of three children) in the same city, although the others were both within 20 miles.

Looking back I regret the compulsion to visit every day. After about six weeks she was uncommunicative and the visits were distressing for us and I think of limited benefit to her if any. We were very hard on ourselves through this period and should have had more thought for our own needs. Not only were we visiting, we were clearing her house, communicating with other relatives and friends and all the other stuff that goes with the situation. And we were both working full-time as well! No children at that stage fortunately.

I think you need to balance the distance involved, your other commitments and your parent's ability to communicate with other residents. If they are able to involve themselves in communal activities then daily visiting would possibly get in the way of them establishing a new routine.

I understand that your circumstances are probably different but setting yourself up for daily visiting is a big strain - when you are doing it you get by on adrenalin - when its all over you pay for it mentally and physically, in my opinion.

Lara


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me_and_dad
Reply with quote  #5 
I went everyday when my mother was in the nursing home for the 1st 9months then I started going every other day. She was in there 14 months. Sometimes you have to cut back or risk exhaustion. When my dad finally had to go into the nursing home I went every day. He was only in there 3 months before he passed. I don't regret going that often and it meant so much to them, especially to my father. My mother did not know anything after the 1st 9 months although I talked to her like she did and tried to keep her involved in our
lives. My dad hated the place and I tried to bring him a treat every day and keep his spirits up. I never did tell him he would probably not be coming home...because we thought...just maybe.. he might be able to. But, he never did.
You have to do what you are able to do, mentally and physically no one else knows your limits.
Taking care of loved ones is so very mentally and physically challenging but it is well worth it. I think about all the things that I could have done but I do not beat myself up too bad because I know at the time I was streched to my limits and I did my best. And that is very satisfying.

Good luck and God bless!
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me_and_dad
Reply with quote  #6 

I would like to add that my daily visits did not last very long. Anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour. It was just to let them know that someone was there and cared for them. If other family was going to visit that day I would take a break. Use your family when you can. My siblings all live more that 400 miles away so it was usually just me.

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Trixi
Reply with quote  #7 
2-3 times a week.  Guilt propels me.  No one else here to visit, not that they would if they were here.  Short visits have never worked for him; if they did I would go more. My husband and kids hate going; which I find sad as where he lives it is very very nice. My father just can't interact much at all, although he is usually pleasant now, in the past he was definitely not. 
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Daddy's Little Girl
Reply with quote  #8 
After an adjustment period of a month or so (I went every other day when Dad (90) first moved to a Nursing Home) for the last 1 1/2 years I visit once a week.  Plus holidays and birthdays etc.  I took the same approach as PQ and thought about how often I would visit if he were still at home and once a week seemed right.  I do not do the laundry - the facility does.
 
Mom (85) is in Supportive Living on the same campus and visits everyday, so that gives me peace knowing she is there and that he does not go a day without a visit.  They have been together since she was 12 years old and I actually have to convince her to stay home when she is feeling under the weather - they are very committed to each other.  Mom I see more often as she still has Dr. visits and I do what I call the "Pills and Bills" visits once a week to keep those in order.  Additionally, we still go out once in a while for fun stuff.
 
My brother tries to visit Dad with me - it's much easier emotionally for both of us that way.  Plus when Dad is sleepy or unable to interact much, it helps to have someone to share the silence or fill the gaps.  Yesterday was a difficult visit as Dad had slid out of his wheelchair the day before and had a bruise on his arm.  Plus he was disoriented due to a med change and possible UTI - I was glad my brother was there with me and I told him so.....twice.

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SJ
Reply with quote  #9 
My sister lives 5 minutes from my Mum's nursing home, and I live 45 minutes away. She goes 5-6 times per week, and I go 3 times. But here's the thing...we enjoy going to see her. She's thankful, willing to do anything, and very lucid. We go for her, but we also go for us. If I had a parent like some of the unfortunate people have here, I wouldn't go so often. So I think it is very dependent on the situation and whatever you can do while taking care of yourself.
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Will I Survive
Reply with quote  #10 
SJ is right, it does totally depend on how the elder takes the visits.  My mother is easy to visit, but she also lets me know when she's "done" visiting by just walking off.  She also has bonded well with the NH staff, so it's not usually traumatic for her when it's time for me to leave.  There are periods where she has crying spells, but I weather those as best as I can, the staff helps by diverting her attention while I slip out the door.

If my mother was difficult or hostile, I definitely wouldn't be going every other day and I would let the facility do the laundry so I could minimize my visits. 
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sierraseven
Reply with quote  #11 
I am hoping - or maybe daydreaming - that when my Dad finally goes into a real nursing home (as opposed to the Sierraseven Nursing Home For One) it will be the one near my sister. I don't begrudge her not being able to share the load now - her townhouse-style home is tiny and has many stairs, and she has a full-time job, a 12-year-old kid, and her husband has to travel for work at irregular intervals. But if he were in a NH there, she could visit several times a week, bring his grand-daughter to see him, and kind of even it up, while I get my life back and visit several times a YEAR. 

But alas, he will no doubt insist on staying close to me. So I will have the choice of 1) visiting every single day or 2) listening to him whine and nag at me during every visit that I'm not visiting enough. Sigh.
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Anne
Reply with quote  #12 
THANKS everyone for your reply.  
 
I guess I still am looking at this rehab. time with her in the NH as when she was in the hospital, and thus going all the time to visit (kind of as if she were sick). 
As this goes into a long term situation I'll keep it in mind as to how much we would visit if she was at home -- probably a couple times/week. 
I went yesterday twice (she is just 3 miles from my home). First time didn't find her as she was between therapy and getting her hair done. (I could have found her if I had to, but had other things to do, didn't really want to chit-chat while she was getting her hair done).    
I left and did a bunch of errands, bought her a couple new things, then went back right after her lunch time. Found her sound asleep in bed for a nap.  Put her stuff away and left without talking with her. She was sleeping so soundly she didn't stir a bit with me in her room
 Not going in today as I have too much to do, but I know she'll be just fine.  
Being that this is week 6 I'm thinking of cutting down to several times/ wk and not feeling like I "have to see her almost daily". 
 
Thanks again
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Prodigal
Reply with quote  #13 
I actually visit my mother less now that she is in AL and has friends and activities and all the assistance she needs. When I was helping her "age in place" in her old house, many visits were necessary for purely practical reasons. We don't socialize well ... sadly she is one of "those" parents that SJ mentioned. And now my visits tend to be for mostly practical reasons as well -- to take her to the doctor, bring her new clothes to try on, keep her relatively calm and make her feel loved. Well, she actually is loved, just not 'liked' very dang much, let me tell you.

Sierraseven brought up a pertinent point -- I do think proximity is a deciding factor. I live hours away from my mother and visits to her are an all-day affair, sometimes two days. And I can't get away from work and my household for days at a time very often. When she was first in AL, I visited monthly. Now it's more like every two months. And with  my mother, six or seven visits a year is PLENTY. 

Now if things were different ... hmmmm. If my mother lived nearby and had always been a loving presence in my life and a person who make me feel good about myself as opposed to on a freight train to hell ... let me imagine. (It's hard.) Given my household responsibilities and work schedule, I imagine that I would visit every week, probably twice a week when work was slow. I admit freely that I don't know much about close families, but to me visiting every single day is something you do when someone is dying. And although our parents are nearing the end of their lives, I don't think a death watch that goes on for years is pleasant or healthy for anyone, the watchers or the watchee. If it were me, I would prefer to live out my life, wherever I was, as "normally" as possible. And I would want my loved ones to live their lives normally also. But like I admitted, I know squat about how regular families function.

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Prodigal-sierraseven
Reply with quote  #14 
Hey sierra, If/when the time comes for your father to move to a nursing home, how about giving him no choice about the locale? "Dad, I'm taking a job where I travel a lot, it's something I've been longing to do, and you need to spend more time with your granddaughter and XX (your sister)." Possible? Might be good to have a heart-to-heart with your sister and let her know you are fully expecting her to take the final shift. Fair is fair. You've done the hardest part -- by far. I don't know how I survived four years of the "Pre-AL/NH Aging-In-Place Adult Child Forced March of Exhaustion" and those of you who have been doing it even longer and at closer proximity ... wow. Medals all around.

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CreteGirl
Reply with quote  #15 
My Mom has been in a NH for two years now, and I only go once every other week.  She is in late stage Alz. and I have absolutely no idea if she knows I am there or not.  She is not able to communicate with me in any manner that I can understand.

I would go more often if I knew she understood that I was there or was able to communicate with me, but having a one-sided conversation is exhausting.
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